All posts filed under: Washington Heights

“You can not stop”

Jamahl Turner sits in the attic of a towering duplex on 57th and Lloyd in Washington Heights. The large, open area has been transformed into what doubles as a recording studio and bona fide hangout spot. Turner — known by many as “Pharaoh Mac,” “King Pharaoh,” or simply, “Pharaoh” — is one half of local hip-hop group Pharaoh Mac & DMT. For him, music, and hip-hop in particular, is a way to express himself, an escape, a way to communicate on a deeper level, to be truly heard. “If you think about it, music … is a universal language,” he says. “How you speak and what you speak of is what people can relate to. And, hip-hop, in a sense has become the more dominant music now. Everybody listens to it so everybody can relate.”

“Reading Rainbow was my show”

If you run into David Barnett, don’t be surprised if he stops to give you some change or listen to your latest struggle. Barnett believes, sometimes, for the universe to lend you a hand, you have to extend your hand first. “Oh, yes, I believe in karma,” he said. “I have to because that’s the only reason I’m here.” Barnett, who grew up in the inner city around 35th and Capitol, 20th and Burleigh and a couple other spots, says he’s fortunate not to have fallen prey to the pressures that often affect young people in that kind of environment. “For [those places], it’s all about a show of strength and belonging to something,” he said. “For my neighborhood, felonies, prison time – that’s normal.”